For creating presentations, there are only two serious options on the market today: Microsoft's PowerPoint and Apple's Keynote. Yes, Google Slides is an up-and-coming choice, but it's almost expected that you'll use one of these two to make a presentation.
Even though PowerPoint is the most commonly used app—its name, even, is synonymous with presentations—it might not be the best app for making presentations.
We've looked at ways to make the absolute most basic presentations with just text and images in any app, and at the web apps that make it easy to craft a presentation like no other. But when it comes to traditional presentations, there's nothing like Keynote. It's simpler, easier to use, and is more cross-compatible than PowerPoint.
Let's look at the ways Keynote beats PowerPoint, and why you should switch to Keynote the next time you need to make a traditional presentation.
Take Your Keynote Presentations Everywhere
Nowadays, many are replacing their computers with iPhones or iPads. Trying to access, edit, or show a PowerPoint presentation from your iOS device is no simple task. While Microsoft's mobile apps have come a long way, they still feel like a tacked-on solution to the desktop app.
With Keynote, on the other hand, you'll have a full-featured way to make, edit, and present presentations from anywhere. The iOS apps include practically every feature that you'll see on the desktop app, and best of all, they're free!
Another advantage is the web browser version of Keynote, which you can also use for free. It's especially powerful since it's got every feature you'd expect from a desktop app, right in a web app. That means that you can keep working
The vast majority of Keynote's features are the exact same on every version of the app, so you can make your presentation on your Mac, edit it later on your iPad, and everything will be the same. You'll need to make sure to use the default fonts, of course, so they'll be usable on your iPad, but otherwise, there's really nothing you'll have to worry about since Keynote for iPad is so fully-featured.
One reason that the Apple approach to "edit your presentation anywhere" works so well is the use of iCloud. On every Apple device, this cloud storage service is integrated deeply into the operating system—both macOS and iOS.
So, if want to make a presentation and keep it on one device, PowerPoint will still work fine. But if you want perfect fidelity across your Mac, iPad, and even PC or Chromebook, Keynote's the app for you.
Keynote Presentations Are Easily Shareable
Let's say you just gave a great presentation to a group of peers that they really liked. One of the follow-up questions you are likely to receive is "Where can we find this presentation online?"
Well, another big Keynote advantage is its ability to quickly export your presentation to HTML, which essentially turns your presentation into a website automatically. That makes it interactive and easy for anyone to access, even if they don't have the app installed.
Here's how to create an HTML version of your Keynote presentation:
- Open your presentation.
- Tap the File menu, then select the Export To submenu, and choose HTML.
- Choose the location on your Mac's hard drive to save the files.
- After saving them down, upload them to your favorite web server. One option is to use a service like Dropbox, which allows you to create publicly shareable links.
- Send the link to the generated index.html file to anyone who wants it, or just share the link online.
When you test this feature out, note that most of the presentation features will translate nicely to the browser. Apple has gone the extra mile to ensure that Keynote exports functional HTML pages that work well.
1. Export to Other Formats
If you're trying to convince others to work with your Apple Keynote presentation, you might be facing some resistance. Maybe they don't have Keynote installed on their computer or have sworn off using a Mac in their work.
The Apple Keynote app has a few features that help you bridge the gap to other users. You've already seen exporting your presentation as a webpage, but there are other export options that help you work with other users. That includes exporting as a PowerPoint file, video, and more.
To learn more about exporting your Keynote presentation to a variety of formats, check our guide below:
2. Share Your Keynote Presentation Online
In addition to the handy HTML option, you can also share your presentation in real-time thanks to Keynote Live. If your audience can't join you in a conference room, this is the perfect solution.
With Keynote Live, think of yourself as a broadcaster. As you advance your slides and move from one point to the next, your audience's view will change as well. You can use features like password protection to control sensitive topics, and even viewers on iOS devices can join your presentation.
Check out the tutorial below to learn how to use Apple Keynote Live:
Keynote's Simplicity Is Its Advantage
As soon as you open the Apple Keynote app, one of its advantages is obvious: the simplicity of the interface. While PowerPoint has every imaginable feature on the ribbon, Keynote focuses more on the essentials in the default interface view.
It should be obvious from these pics, but I'll say it anyway: Keynote is far and away more user-friendly. Options and tools stay out of the way so that your focus stays on the presentation canvas.
Keynote has almost the exact same features as PowerPoint—with extra power under the hood, as we just saw—but it manages to make those same features a lot less overwhelming.
1. Simple Charts and Graphs
More than ever, our world is data-driven. It's only natural that practically every presentation will feature charts and graphs that help tell stories with data. Keynote excels at creating great charts and graphs, even if you don't consider yourself.
To get started, click on the Chart icon on the menu. You'll see intuitive presets for presenting data. Just click on one of them to get started. Then, click Edit Chart Data. The pop-up menu is an embedded spreadsheet with placeholders. Just start typing your data, and you'll see it added to the embedded graph.
PowerPoint has a similar embedded Excel window, but where Keynote really sets itself apart is on the customization options. With any chart selected and the Format option selected, you'll have all of the customizations you need on the right side of Keynote. Point, click, customize, and you're done.
Again, you'll certainly find highly advanced chart and graph tools in PowerPoint. But they're tied into the sometimes overwhelming feeling of using Microsoft Excel. The Keynote chart option is intuitive and easy for beginners.
2. Intuitive and Easy Animations
Animations have always been a sore spot when working in PowerPoint. Sure, there are plenty of animation options—but start adding more than a couple and you'll soon be confused by sequencing and options.
This is one of the best reasons to turn to Keynote. Start by selecting any object you want to customize (text, charts, graphs, etc) and then click Animate on the menu, and then you can choose an animation effect.
Another important advantage for Keynote: it doesn't give up simplicity for advanced functionality. You can learn everything you need to know about Keynote in our complete tutorial guide. Or, check out the two tutorials below to become a master of animation, learning all of the best that Keynote has to offer.
- KeynoteHow to Add Animations in Apple Keynote (Complete Guide)Andrew Childress
- KeynoteKeynote Magic Move: How to Use Slide Transition EffectsAndrew Childress
The Best Source for Apple Keynote Designs
If you're wondering how to create Keynote presentations with the best Apple Keynote designs, I've got a secret to share with you: it's okay to use the work of others. Thanks to talented graphic designers and Envato Elements, you've got everything you need to create a great Keynote presentation.
Sure, apps like Keynote include built-in templates. But they're often bland and overused. Using a great template will set your presentation apart from the crowd. Custom templates set the stage by including all of the placeholders you could possibly need.
An example of one of my favorite Keynote designs from Elements is the Magazine Keynote template. This is one of the thousands of Keynote templates that are included as part of the flat rate Elements subscription offer.
Never used a template? Here's how you can use one to build your presentation. Let's customize a slide from the template and do just that.
The Magazine template is simple and straightforward, ready for print. Let's customize slide 5.
First, let's add an image to the slide. I've sourced an image from the Envato Elements mother nature collection (also part of your subscription!) Then, I've just dragged and dropped it onto the image placeholder.
Then, all you've got to do is type over the text placeholder boxes and replace it with your content. That's truly all there is to it.
In just a few steps, this slide was customized to include our content. It's a great example of how flexible templates can be.
To see some of the best Apple Keynote designs, check out the round-up below:
Why Apple Keynote Is the Right Presentation Tool
Let's take a moment to review the Apple Keynote app advantages:
- When it comes to accessibility, Keynote wins. You can use it on your Mac, iPhone, iPad, or just about any computer with a web browser thanks to iCloud. The apps are fully featured.
- When it comes to cross-compatibility, Keynote wins. Share your presentation as a webpage, PDF, or video to
- And lastly, when it comes to ease of use, Keynote's "less is more" interface and feature set stays out of the way when you're building a presentation.
All of these reasons are why Keynote is the clear winner when it comes to presentation software for your Mac or iPad—or even for your PC if you've got an iCloud account. It's simpler, works better, and helps you focus on making a great presentation.
At the end of the day, though, making a great presentation is what's most important. Don't forget that using great presentation for Apple Keynote designs from Envato Elements is a huge advantage. It frees you up to focus on your content, the core of the presentation.
Editorial Note: This tutorial was originally published in February of 2014. It's been updated to include new information—with special assistance from Andrew Childress.